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Dim Sum Garden dispute is in lawyers' hands now

The operators of the Race Street location left suddenly, her partner says.

The dispute over the two Dim Sum Garden restaurants in Chinatown is now in lawyers' hands.

Just to recap: Dim Sum Garden, a soup-dumpling specialist, opened in 2008 at 59 N. 11th St. It shut in September, just as its operators, Shizhou Da and her daughter Sally Song, opened a new Dim Sum Garden at 1120 Race St.

But in December, Ru Fang Wang reopened the 11th Street restaurant as Dim Sum Garden.

In an interview last week, Wang said she had as much right to the name.

Wang, Da, and another woman, Atom Ren, are partners in 11th Street, according to business records. Da had entered the business by buying out an earlier partner.

Wang said Da moved out of 11th Street without telling her, a point confirmed by the landlord's property manager, J.J. Deviney. "When it was dark, I thought it was a holiday I didn't know about," he said.

Wang is upset that Song and Da are using the Dim Sum Garden name. When 11th Street went dark, such websites as Yelp and Foursquare marked it closed. Google searches are steering customers to Race Street, as well. Song trademarked the name after opening on Race Street.

Deviney said Wang paid the rent during the down time.

Wang brought in an original owner, Tom Guo, as chef.

Almost immediately, Wang said, customers who knew of the Race Street shop began confronting her. "They said, 'You're a fake' and walked out," she said through an interpreter last week.

Through her attorney Robert Black, Song sent a cease-and-desist letter to the 11th Street restaurant. But Don Benedetto, representing Wang, said it was the Race Street operation that does not have the right to the name.